Alum Named to Forbes 30 Under 30

Maximilian Guen has been busy since graduating from Global Liberal Studies in 2014. Having fostered a film production interest at NYU, he co-founded full-service creative firm Magna Carta with NYU Tisch graduate Matthew K. Firpo in 2012. The company has produced award-winning commercial work for companies that include Snapchat, UNICEF, and Visa. This year, Maximilian and Matthew were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Marketing and Advertising. Maximilian looks back on what led him here and what's ahead.

How did you get involved in video production?
After a life long interest in film, I decided in my sophomore year at NYU that it was time to start making them. My sister Serena had just launched SUITCASE Magazine at the time; I saw how hard she was working, and I felt left out. That year, I was a producer on about five short films that came out of NYU Tisch, some better than others. A couple went on to play at major film festivals, and some won awards.

What led you to create your own company?

The whole thing happened organically, shortly after winning an award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival for a film called Child's Play, directed by Matthew K. Firpo. In the summer of my junior year, Matthew and I began meeting with people who were founding their own companies and needed content or commercials. Our first client was Tinder, which, in those days, was a small team with big ambitions. We continued to build our presence working directly with some of the major start up/tech companies, fashion brands, and major corporations.

What has been the most fun project for you at Magna Carta?

Every shoot is different, every shoot has its ups and downs. The most fun project is always the next one.

What has been your best professional moment to date?

I guess it is the recognition and awards for some of the work we've done. In 2015 we won the Adweek Watch Awards, and in 2016 we were named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. But, the real accomplishments are still ahead.

As of 2016, we have focused a lot of our attention and resources into content for social good. It's giving back in the best way we know how. Across the industry there is a huge interest in socially aware documentaries and campaigns. We recently launched REFUGE, a multimedia project chronicling human stories from the European Refugee Crisis, focused on humanity and hope. It was shot on location in Greece, during January 2016. We also have a ​great project with UNICEF in the pipeline.

What is the best professional advice you've gotten?
If you ask for more, you get more.

How has your GLS education been helpful in your career?
GLS is filled with a lot of ambitious characters passionate about so many different industries, professions and subjects. To spend four years in that environment definitely opens minds and broadens horizons.

What's your favorite commercial?
The Volvo commercial with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the ultimate split between two moving trucks at sunrise is a classic or Alejandro Iñárritu's P&G "Thank you Mom" campaign for the 2012 Olympics.

Being named to Forbes 30 Under 30 is a huge honor. What else do you hope to accomplish before your 30th birthday?
I'd like to continue to make the world a better place.

Maximilian, left, interviewing Michael Maisel for a 2015 production.
Updated on 10/10/2016